The Spanish-English bilingual experience and cognitive change in Hispanics/Latinos from the Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos-Investigation of Neurocognitive Aging

Melissa Lamar, Wassim Tarraf, Benson Wu, Krista M. Perreira, Richard B. Lipton, Tasneem Khambaty, Jianwen Cai, Maria M. Llabre, Linda C. Gallo, Martha L. Daviglus, Hector M. González

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Studies suggest bilingualism may delay behavioral manifestations of adverse cognitive aging including Alzheimer's dementia. Methods: Three thousand nine hundred sixty-three participants (unweighted mean population age ≈56 years) at Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos baseline (2008–2011) self-reported their and their parents’ birth outside the United States, Spanish as their first language, and used Spanish for baseline and comparable cognitive testing 7 years later (2015–2018). Spanish/English language proficiency and patterns of use were self-rated from 1 = only Spanish to 4 = English > Spanish. Cognitive testing included test-specific and global composite score(s) of verbal learning, memory, word fluency, and Digit Symbol Substitution (DSS). Survey linear regression models examined associations between baseline bilingualism scores and cognition. Results: Higher second-language (English) proficiency and use were associated with higher global cognition, fluency, and DSS at follow-up and better than predicted change in fluency. Discussion: The bilingual experience was more consistently related to 7-year level versus change in cognition for Hispanics/Latinos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAlzheimer's and Dementia
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Keywords

  • bilingualism
  • cognitive change
  • Hispanic/Latino
  • language proficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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